Mental health concerns have become widespread in the United States, especially since the pandemic. A study shows that one-fifth of Americans today suffer from declining psychological well-being. Therapists and counselors can help people regain their mental health and overcome depression.
An experienced counselor earns handsome salaries by helping patients, and you can also advance your career in this field. This article explains how you should kickstart your counseling career and become better at helping your clients. Carefully follow the guidelines mentioned here, and you shall become an advanced counseling professional soon. Just remember to focus on your studies and your clients.
How can you become a better counselor?
Should you pursue a career in counseling today? Counselors have become necessary to strengthen our nation’s mental health. Statistics indicate 9 in 10 Americans are prepared to suggest counselors to troubled family members. Experts have predicted that counseling-related careers are in-demand because of COVID’s aftermath, and these jobs are projected to grow by 23% from 2020 to 2030. Healthcare practitioners today are already lacking in number, and the country needs more licensed therapists to start serving their patients. So, students must pursue a career in this field. You, too, can become an accomplished counselor after memorizing the tips we will tell you in this blog:
- Earn your license
You can’t become a licensed professional counselor without earning the requisite certificate. After earning a master’s degree in psychology or a doctorate in counseling, you may earn an LPC licensure to start working as a professional therapist. LPCs are mental-health professionals who diagnose psychological disorders and treat them effectively. So, obtaining this license can help you initiate your career in counseling.
- Continue your education
Even after earning the license, LPCs should continue increasing their knowledge. Remember that the quest for knowledge never ends, and upgrading your education keeps you updated. Don’t think, “I’ve got all the answers now.” You can’t be successful in counseling unless you learn about every current development in psychology. This education makes you capable of treating patients and bolstering their health. Subscribe to relevant magazines and periodicals online to keep learning.
- Learn to communicate
Learn to communicate with your patients effectively and connect with their experiences. You should refrain from belittling or ignoring their experiences. Instead, offer personalized communication to a client by actively listening to that person’s problems and experiences. Consider your patient’s biases along with certain social, ethnic, and religious differences that might hinder effective dialogue. Overcome any cultural differences by educating yourself about the patient’s background. Thus, you can cure the person.
- Practice counseling ethically
Practice counseling ethically without crossing the boundaries established by your pioneers. Connect with patients without intimidating them or neglecting their experiences. Remember that you must treat your clients according to the professional guidelines of this field. Learn about how counselors are supposed to act professionally in a clinical setting. For instance, search for ASERVIC competencies or the ACA Code of Ethics.
- Value your clients
Counselors shouldn’t make their clients feel neglected, disrespected, or uncomfortable. Value them because that’s how you can earn their trust and help them become healthy. Let them know that you see them as people and not just patients. Show empathy while treating them and improve trust between yourself and the patient. Express your concern for your clients not verbally only but also practically. Communicate with them by using your body language to show concern.
- Acknowledge their anxiety
Fortunately, getting mental health treatment isn’t taboo anymore. But people still feel anxious when they are asked to visit a counselor. Studies reveal that 47% of Americans today believe that getting therapy indicates weakness. So, realize that some of your clients may be anxious, even ashamed, about visiting you. Acknowledge their anxiety and show them how your office is just a safe space where they are cured. Don’t make therapy sessions a nerve-wracking experience for them.
- Understand your clients
Understand your clients by giving them trust, returning their calls, and showing them compassion. The Code of Ethics will show you that counselors who don’t return a client’s calls violate several principles of this profession. You should understand your clients by putting yourself in their shoes. Consider the matter from their perspective, and you can help your patients recover easily.
- Enhance your micro-skills
Improve your “soft skills” to help patients recover quickly. These micro-skills are important because they help therapists understand the patient’s condition properly. So, you should ask several relevant questions to understand the client’s mental state. Make them reflect on their past experiences and allow patients to reach a solution independently. Don’t break eye contact with your client, and try to lean forward when listening. Reread what we talked about valuing your client practically as well.
- Don’t judge clients
The ACA Code of Ethics can help you learn why counselors aren’t supposed to judge clients. It’s your job – as the counselor – to avoid imposing your views, values, and attitudes on the patient. Permit a client to be frank with you. Don’t judge your patients because of something they have said/done. It’s not productive to rebuke the client because you wish to earn the person’s trust. Make a therapeutic alliance with your patients. Collaborate with them to reach your mutual goal, i.e., quick recovery.
- Focus on self-care
Don’t neglect your well-being while treating patients. Treating too many patients can lead you to a condition called “compassion fatigue” in which you stop feeling sorry for your clients. So, prevent this condition by prioritizing your well-being. Don’t allow burnout to stop you from taking care of a patient. Eat healthily, sleep comfortably, and exercise regularly. Engage in some healthy hobbies to keep yourself mentally satisfied. Stop overworking and keep drinking lots of water too.
We’ve established that counseling-related employment opportunities have become very sought-after in the United States. You can easily accelerate your career advancement endeavors as a licensed counselor by following the suggestions mentioned above. Obtain your LPC licensure and keep enhancing your knowledge of mental health. Value your clients, give them respect, and recognize their sufferings. That’s how you can help them recover from their conditions. Enhance your soft skills, practice ethical counseling, and avoid judging your clients. Communicate with them effectively to earn their trust. Don’t neglect self-care because your well-being is important too.